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Philippians 4:4-8

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A few years ago we ventured out on a float trip on the Yukon River from Eagle to Ft. Yukon. As I recall it was a mid-afternoon in the middle of the trip. Due dot his war canoe with the motor on the back, Dan and his family had gone ahead of us to secure and warm up a cabin along the river. He left navigating instruction for us to rendezvous with him at the cabin. Some time after he had left, we saw some deep black clouds forming. I don’t remember if they were coming up behind us or if we were heading into them. I do remember, that we knew we were about to get dumped on with rain. Rain in usually dreaded on most ventures, but this was one trip where someone had clued me on on the importance of good rain gear for the trip. I am sure most of you know that in a down-pour, water “resistant” rain gear is going to do you know God. Only water-proof gear will keep you dry. With the inevitably of the down poor coming, we put on our water-proof gear. Soon after the heavens opened up and pelted us with gigantic rain drops. It was one of those storms that was impressive to watch, but the enjoyment of the storm was due to the dry condition within the rain gear.
When we met Dan and Rachel at the cabin, I do not remember how many other people were able to report the impressive storm and their concurring experience of dryness, but I am pretty sure that someone in the group probably got soaked. However, if they sat in the cabin complaining and blaming their miserable condition on the rain, there probably would not receive a lot of support. The rain was inevitable, the shelter they had chosen is what let to their soggy condition.
Just as the rain was inevitable on such an adventure, so difficulty and conflict and unavoidable in life. However, we can choose our shelter. In our passage tonight, we are not given a description of what the abode of safety is like, but we do find that those who dwell in it experience the stabilizing condition called peace. The letter to the Philippians has not revealed a condition of no stress or conflict, but here toward the end of the letter, we see a miraculous condition of peace promised in the midst of the conflict. Downplaying difficulty would not be profitable in order to bring peace to a soul- people do face difficult and traumatic circumstances- however, elevating the security in Christ and the resulting miraculous gift of peace is profitable and Biblical.
We all have a tendency of creating and hiding under shabby shelters that we think will bring us peace. As the storms of life begin to reveal the feebleness of our shelters, and we begin to shake inwardly with grumbling and anxiety- in Christ we do have a choice to think and act differently. What are the actions that God call us in the time of conflict and difficulty?

What Are the Traits of the One Who Brings Such Stability?

Illustration of Umbrella not sheltering during side- ways rain.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
There is no circumstance or point in time in which God has not, is not, or will not be acting as God. In the situations of provision and relationships where we constantly look to them for some kind of refuge, God declare that His provision is enough. He is always in control, will always use that control for His good purposes. His good purposes are not an inferior quality to settle for but rather they cannot be exceeded.
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust in them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through was a longing … For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.1
1 Welch, E. T. (2000). Counseling Those Who Are Depressed. The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 2, Winter 2000, 18, 19.
What else do we see about the One who brings such stability?
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
He is a Master who has left us with relationships to steward and will soon come back to complete the work and reward and exalt the steward.
This combats the false reality of us acting as masters. God made man to rule under his leadership. From the beginning, man has attempted freedom apart from it only to face his demise.
Illustration of Older Sibling ignoring his role of steward
What is another characteristic you see about God in verse 6 and 7?
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
He knows the needs, is attentive to the needs. The fact that He says to do this always indicates that He is never stand-offish. He is ready and eager to give resources and outcomes that are far superior to ours.
Illustration of wanting an answer from a teacher and discovering a teacher- skilled mentor who would change me into a master on the subject
There is one more characteristic to notice about your God in verse 7
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
He guards what no one else can. He guards what is most important. No one can penetrate His protection.
The picture of Lk.11:21 seems helpful in understanding peace. When the strong man of the house is in place the goods in the house are at peace/ secure.
Do you see why we started with the traits of the One who bring stability? If someone asks you if you want to go somewhere, even if the destination is pleasant, you will usually ask “Who’s going?” How then do you interact with such a refuge?

How then do we act in times of conflict?

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Rejoice Always
Joy is thinking submissive choice.
My joy does not come how people treat me.
Joy does not come from my own performance
I know that this will turn out for my deliverance.
Looking at Jesus until you smile- Dan
Be forbearing and gentle to all
This is evidence of finding your joy in God and humbly putting others before yourself. You don’t need them to change for your convenience.
Don’t Worry but pray
Gentleness with others is a result of bringing the concern to God.
The heart behind worry is control.
So what do I pray?
For your sanctification
That their love would abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment
Think and practice what you know to be true
Think humbly
Think right about sanctification
Don’t dwell on things that are true and that you do not know.
Get the right input so that you can rejoice, be gentle, and not worry.

What Does This Stability Look Like?

Philippians 4:7,9
Philippians 4:7 NKJV
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:9 ESV
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Peace with God
Not necessarily peace with others
The peace of God seems to be the characteristic of the heart that is resting in God.
It is a condition that only God can bring.
It can take place in the midst of difficulty. It is a condition that he has granted when we were reconciled to Him. The previous verses have shown what to with the threat to peace in the heart.
A restful condition is brought about in a very alert soul
Peace is a condition of harmony under God’s rule. It is a gift that only God can grant and teach Surpassing understanding peace.
This surpassing word in used in chapter 3 to describe the worth of knowing Christ. It is used to describe the depths of God's love in Ephesians. The gifts that God gives are beyond what we could imagine or obtain. Letting him rule in the heart will result in conditions far beyond what we could do if we tried to rule. The peace happens in unlikely situations.Anxious souls have a tendency to quarrel rather than bringing their concerns to God (James 4:2)
Isaiah 26:1–3 ESV
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
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